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14 immigrants apprehended

April 15, 2002|By MARIO RENTERÍA, Staff Writer

U.S. Border Patrol agents apprehended 14 undocumented immigrants after an accident Saturday night south of El Centro.

Border Patrol Public Information Officer Manuel Figueroa said 14 people were inside a van that went into a drainage canal about 7:15 p.m. Saturday.

Figueroa said agents patrolling near the New River earlier had noticed a van pick up the people.

The agents followed the van, keeping a safe distance and waiting until other agents could arrive to help deal with the van, according to Figueroa, The driver of the van drove on several county roads before turning into a private driveway.

The driver then drove through a field with a 12- to 15-foot deep drainage ditch at the end of it. The driver did not see the ditch and drove straight into it. The ditch was between Heber and Wahl roads.

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Six of the passengers were taken to El Centro Regional Medical Center. The other eight were taken to Pioneers Memorial Hospital in Brawley. Information on the injuries was not available.

Figueroa said the driver of the van was not identified.

>> Staff Writer Mario Rentería can be reached at 337-3441.

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